By Ty Parker
LUBBOCK, Texas – Junior Brian Klein hit a walk-off single and the No. 11 Texas Tech baseball team rallied from four runs down for a 5-4 win in the series opener against Kansas on Friday at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders (20-8, 4-3) trailed 4-0 after the Jayhawks (15-14, 1-6) plated three runs in the sixth, but responded with three of their own in the home-half of the inning before tying it up at 4-4 in the eighth and collecting its first walk-off win of the year in the ninth.
Klein came to bat in the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, driving a single through the right side of the infield to bring in sophomore Gabe Holt for the winning run. It was the team-leading 38th hit of the year for Klein, who went 2-for-4 on the day and is hitting .419 at home this season.
With the slow start offensively, freshman starter Micah Dallas kept the Red Raiders in it, limiting the Jayhawks to one run through the first five innings. Making his third start of the season and his Big 12 debut, he tossed a career-high 7.0 innings and matched his career high with seven strikeouts while allowing four runs on five hits.
Junior lefty Dane Haveman earned his second win of the season (2-1) after coming on to close out the final two outs of the ninth to give the Red Raiders a chance to claim their 20th win of the season. Junior right-hander Taylor Floyd tossed a scoreless eighth and recorded the first out of the ninth.
Dallas wasn’t the only freshman with a major impact in the win as three of the four Red Raiders with multi-hit games were rookies as well. Left fielder Max Marusak led the charge with his first career three-hit day, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and his sixth stolen base of the year. The Amarillo native also made a nice diving grab on a low liner in the ninth with a runner on first and no outs to help maintain the 4-4 tie.
Shortstop Dru Baker went 2-for-3 and drove in Tech’s first two runs of the game with a two-out single to right field in the sixth. Marusak followed with an RBI single up the middle to cut Kansas’s lead to 4-3.
Head coach Tim Tadlock’s squad manufactured a run in the eighth to tie the game. Senior Cameron Warren led off with a single and was moved to second before a bunt single from Marusak and a steal put runners on second and third with one out. Sophomore catcher Braxton Fulford did his job, bringing in Warren to tie the game with an RBI ground out to short.
The win moves Tech to 44-25 all-time against Kansas, including 24-9 in games played in Lubbock. Tech is now to 13-10 in Big 12 home openers and has won 11 of its last 12 meetings with the Jayhawks. For the season, the Red Raiders are now 14-2 at home.
The Red Raiders will go for their fifth-straight series win over Kansas on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Rip Griffin Park.
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